Pad up with Test cricket tips for the series opener between the resurgent Australian side and underdogs Pakistan at the Gabba.
11:00 (AEDT), Thu 21st Nov @ The Gabba, Brisbane
History: Played 64: Australia 31 V Pakistan 15 (18 Draws)
Last meeting: October 16-19, 2018: Pakistan d Australia by 373 runs at Sheikh Zayed Stadium
Final Thoughts: The Australian summer of Test cricket gets underway in Brisbane with the first of two clashes against Pakistan.
Australian coach Justin Langer is expected to leave Cameron Bancroft and Michael Neser out of his XI. That means Joe Burns is set to open the battling alongside David Warner, while Travis Head nabs a middle-order slot. Mitchell Starc also gets a place in a formidable bowling line-up after playing just one of the recent Ashes Tests.
As has been the routine in recent months, all eyes will be on Steve Smith and Warner in their first Test in Australia in almost two years. Smith averaged 110.57 in an astonishing campaign that saw the Ashes retained after a drawn series. Warner averaged a paltry 9.50, but has been in excellent limited-overs and Sheffield Shield touch recently.
After enduring a T20I series spanking, Pakistan showed some encouraging tour form in drawn matches against Australia A and the CA XI. Asad Shafiq hit centuries in both games, while Babar Azam plundered 157 in the earlier match.
Pakistan have not played any Tests since a 3-0 series loss in South Africa last December-January. They were held to less than 200 four times in six innings.
Pakistan struggle Down Under
The nations last met in the Test cauldron in the UAE last year. Pakistan carved out a devastating 373-run win in the second and final match after the series opener was drawn.
But Australia powered to a convincing 3-0 series win on home soil in late-2016. They are on a 12-Test home winning streak against Pakistan, who last won a Test Down Under in 1995.
Australia are on a remarkable 30-Test unbeaten streak at the Gabba, winning 23 and last losing there in 1988. They have won their last six straight in Brisbane. Pakistan’s best effort in five visits to Brisbane was a draw in 1983.
While the Australian batting line-up is under the microscope (the mercurial Smith aside), the hosts’ bowling attack of Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon is set to decimate a Pakistan batting contingent that has shown little resolve outside the UAE in recent years.
Cummins has taken over as Australia’s pace spearhead in the past 12 months and will be chomping at the bit to start the summer in dominant style.